Govt to build 3 depots to boost reservesThe government has moved to build three new fuel storage facilities—one each at Panchkhal in Kavrepalanchok, Betrawati in Nuwakot and Khairenitar in Tanahun—in a bid to maintain adequate reserves and prevent supply crises.
The government has moved to build three new fuel storage facilities—one each at Panchkhal in Kavrepalanchok, Betrawati in Nuwakot and Khairenitar in Tanahun—in a bid to maintain adequate reserves and prevent supply crises.
According to the Ministry of Commerce and Supply Management (MoCS), each of the oil terminals will have a capacity to store 6,000 kilolitres of petrol and 1,000 kilolitres of diesel.
Commerce Under-Secretary Shiva Prasad Tripathi said the MoCS had sent a request to the Chinese government through the Foreign Ministry to build the facilities.
MoCS Spokesperson Shambhu Ghimire said the ministry had started preparations to acquire land at the three locations. According to him, the facilities planned to be built in Betrawati and Khairenitar will also be good for storing gasoline imported from India. Similarly, Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) Spokesperson Mukunda Ghimire said the fuel depots would hold enough fuel to meet the country’s requirement for 90 days.
According to him, NOC itself is in the process of increasing the capacity of its Thankot oil depot by 700 kilolitres. The current storage capacity of the Thankot depot is 1,900 kilolitres. “We will be constructing 10 underground tanks with storage capacities of 70 kilolitres each,” he said.
Nepal maintains oil storage tanks at 10 locations with a total capacity of 71,622 kilolitres of petrol, diesel, kerosene and aviation fuel, according to NOC.
The reserve is enough for just 20 days calculated on the basis of the sales trends of 2014. NOC said that it had been working to develop its storage capacity to be able to fulfil the country’s requirement for at least 30 days.
Meanwhile, the Independent Power Producers’ Association of Nepal (Ippan) revealed during a recent presentation on energy security in Nepal that Israel maintained fuel reserves enough for 270 days, South Korea for 240 days, the US for 137 days and Switzerland for 137 days.
Although NOC has long been talking about increasing the storage capacity, the plan has not been carried out.
According to the National News Agency, there is no provision for the storage of kerosene and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) on a large scale. The present facilities can store enough petrol for a week, diesel for 15 days and aviation fuel for 10 days.
The Nepali people have suffered frequently from fuel shortages because the government cannot maintain adequate reserves. The latest gasoline crisis is a result of the undeclared embargo mounted by India.
Against this backdrop, Finance Minister Bishnu Poudel and Commerce Minister Ganesh Man Pun have held frequent discussions on boosting the country’s fuel storage capacity.
The Finance Ministry has agreed to arrange the necessary resources to increase the fuel storage capacity. Presently, NOC maintains fuel storage facilities at Thankot, Tribhuvan International Airport, Sinamangal, Bhairahawa, Pokhara, Nepalgunj, Biratnagar and other places.
Tripathi said a proposal had been presented to the government of China to increase Nepal’s fuel storage capacity.